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Green Alert: Empowering communities in need


Stories from the field



Ori Ettinger
Senior law clerk in Green alert Service

Yeruham: Instilling environmental awareness bottom-up

Yossi C. from Yeruham, an economically depressed town in the south of Israel, had spoken to the municipality time and again to remove several asbestos panels which were strewn across a busy walkway, but to no avail. “The walkway is right in the heart of the town. Kids use it on their way to school and to the community center, religious residents walk there on their way to shul”, explains Ori, senior law clerk in the Green Alert Service. “But even though removing the panels is a very simple procedure which is handled by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the municipality refused to properly deal with this health risk.”


After Yossi found out that an unaccredited contractor recklessly disposed of the panels, leaving behind hundreds of dangerous shards, he asked us to get involved. We got in touch with the Ministry’s unit for asbestos removal and saw to it that the area was cleared.

Yossi’s story highlights the importance of our job. Yeruham is a weak municipality which lacks any sort of environmental awareness. Their utter negligence complicated and exacerbated a relatively straightforward solution. Hopefully with the help of this concerned resident, we can start to instill municipal environmental awareness from the bottom up. The one thing I love most about my job in the Green Alert is finding that one citizen who truly cares about his community and helping him to make a difference. Yossi is just one instance of the power of environmental awareness. I am honored to help the communities who really need us understand and realize these basic environmental rights.” 


2013: Breakdown of appeals to Green alert



A clean (& healthy) slate: Working with new municipal leadership in Peki’in

The 5,200 residents of Peki’in, a Druze town in the northern Galilee, were used to the stench of burning garbage. For years, garbage has been burnt at illegal sites near schools and kindergartens and in close proximity to a highly populated residential area. Frustrated residents have gotten used to the fact that this is the primary outlet to dispose of their waste, including by the local council. For one alert resident, enough was enough and he turned to us for help. We immediately intervened, insisting that the newly elected local council address the issue once and for all.

“The timing was perfect” says Ori. “A new council head had just been elected and we grabbed the opportunity to finally bring about change in the town. Now there is someone we can talk to. The incoming mayor, a former doctor, appreciates the severe health risks arising from the burning trash, especially in such sensitive areas. Because of our insistence he is not taking the matter lightly and has committed to implement a four-step action plan to fix the previous council’s environmental misconduct.”



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